Dublin band Knots are a rock/pop four-piece who play Monroe’s Live on Friday next, March 8. The band members are Botham Hawk (vocals/guitar), Conor Lawlor (guitar), Ciaran Hurd (bass) and Rob O’Dwyer on drums. Knots formed when Botham’s previous project didn’t work out, he explains.
“We were an ‘old incarnation’ of a band a few years ago called Relief. The band split up but some of the members got back together and we decided ‘you know, let’s go back out and do it again’. So far – we’ve only been together since March 2012 – it’s gone very well for us.”
Indeed, it does seem to be going well for Knots. They’ve played over 60 shows since then, and released their debut album, Velvet Mindset. Botham, whose father named him after the former English cricketer, Ian Botham, has a zealous enthusiasm for his craft.
“It’s the reason I live; music,” he says. “I don’t think anything could stop me doing it. Relief split, but it was never anything to do with a lack of passion for music. To sit back and not do music would be like trying to live without breathing, for me anyway.”
Knots play soaring rock music, while having packed arenas in their eyes. They bring to mind some big names, but Botham feels that Knots also have their own sound.
“We get comparisons to Jimmy Eat World, Biffy Clyro, Muse and U2 – which are all fantastic names, I’m not going to complain,” he says. “I listen to them all. But we all listen to different things in the band and when we come together it makes a hybrid sound, something that’s unique.”
Botham will admit to his band’s lofty ambitions, but what matters to him is that the music has heart.
“If we’re going to talk honestly, we’re a rock/pop band,” he says. “It’s commercial and it sells, but we don’t write it because of that. We write it because we love what we do, and it’s honest, from the heart.”
Their first album, Velvet Mindset was released last September. The album was recorded in AP Studios in the Dublin Mountains, and Knots were able to call on a seasoned pro to help them.
“Ger McDonnell produced and mixed, he’s worked with Def Leppard, U2 and Manic Street Preachers,” says Botham. “We were very happy to have him on board. He added a little bit of polish to the sound.”
Those are some big names on McDonnell’s CV – so how did a young band from Dublin secure his services?
“Relief won ‘Best Unsigned Band 2009’ that was voted for on 98fm,” says Botham. “The prize was to record with an award-winning producer. That’s how we met Ger. The relationship formed very quickly. He really saw potential in us.”
The studio can be an intimidating environment for a young band; you might have to play a certain part over and over, then that old cliché ‘time is money’ starts to prey on your mind. But that wasn’t Botham’s experience.
For more, read this week's Connacht Tribune.